Congratulations are in order for the regional superintendent of schools for Lee and Ogle counties.
Next month, Amy Jo Clemens will become assistant superintendent for the Center for Innovation and Improvement at the Illinois State Board of Education.
The position has significant responsibilities.
Clemens will oversee nearly $2 billion in federal education grants.
The decisions she makes will have an impact on students and educators across Illinois’ 102 counties.
That compares to two counties that she has impacted as regional superintendent for the past 9 years.
In a statement, Clemens expressed her confidence that Lee and Ogle residents “will be able to continue to count on the Lee-Ogle ROE staff to support the education of our citizens.”
She also mentioned that “our paths will cross again.”
We do not pretend to know the full meaning of that somewhat cryptic statement.
However, we know that Lee and Ogle counties have good schools, good students and good teachers who are worthy of support from the state educational system.
We know that Clemens may be in a position to influence the destinations for future federal education grants.
If her path happens to lead back to the region to award one or more of those future grants, that would be just fine with us.
Clemens showed fortitude during the controversy sparked by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2011 when the governor quit paying 44 regional superintendents across the state. Clemens continued to do her job without pay for more than 4 months until the Legislature came to the rescue and approved payment of the salaries.
At the same time, lawmakers approved a study of the future of regional offices of education. As a result, the education service regions will be reduced to 35 in 2015. The Lee-Ogle and Whiteside offices will unite at that point.
Our position has been that government must search out greater efficiencies, and that regional offices of education are one area that deserves scrutiny. Hard-pressed taxpayers deserve that much.
As Clemens advances to her new role, we urge her to work tirelessly to serve the needs of students, educators, and taxpayers. Good luck.